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It’s Time to Rethink What You’ve Been Told About Weight Loss


written by Dr. Christine Bishara - Feb 21, 2022
medically reviewed by Dr. Christine Bishara, MD - Mar 1, 2022

Photo Credit: by Total Shape, Pexels.com
Photo Credit: by Total Shape, Pexels.com

Want to lose weight in 2022? Rethink everything you've been told about weight loss.

Every new year, many people set out to lose weight, but unfortunately only 9% of these new year resolutions are successful.

As an integrative medical weight loss physician, I have seen that there are certain key factors that increase likelihood of success in weight loss. In this article, I will share some of them with you.

While caloric intake does make a difference in weight loss, it is not the only factor that will predict weight loss success. The research over the years has consistently shown that while counting calories does play a role, it is not the only important factor in successful weight loss and more importantly, weight maintenance.

So how does one increase chances of success? It boils down to several factors which i will discuss here:

1- Healthy gut:

Why is a healthy gut important? Believe it or not, our gut contains trillions of microorganisms that communicate with our body–especially our brain. As in everything in the world, there are good gut microbes and bad gut microbes. What you eat either allows the beneficial microbes to thrive or the not so beneficial ones to thrive. Why is this important?

Think:

Prebiotics: Prebiotic are the fibers present in plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and legumes.

Probiotics: probiotics are the gut microbes present in our gut. They feed on these prebiotic fibers and produce byproducts called short chain fatty acids– also called postbiotics.

Postbiotics: These are the short chain fatty acids produced by our gut microbe. The short chain fatty acids actually help to strengthen our gut lining, our immune system and affect the signals our gut sends our brain–including signals to our satiety center. When we eat at least 70% of our diet in the form of plant-based foods, the signals to our satiety center work efficiently, notifying it that we have gotten adequate nutrition. Eating a diet rich in processed foods and minimal plant-based options allows the bad gut bacteria to thrive and in turn they send signals to our brain, shutting off the satiety center–making us always hungry.

The three most common postbiotics that have been studied as beneficial are:

1-PROPIONATE- involved in producing glucose in the liver and also functions as a positive feedback to the satiety center in the brain. The more propionate produced by our gut microbes, the better appetite control one will exhibit.

2-BUTYRATE- butyrate has been shown to maintain the health of the gut lining, while having potent anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and immune strengthening functions. Butyrate is one of the main short chain fatty acids produced by bifidobacterium, further explaining the gut-Covid connection and the increased incidence of Covid severity in those deficient in this beneficial gut microbe.

3- ACETATE- has been shown to help with weight management and insulin resistance.

How do we increase the production of these short chain fatty acids?

EAT:

Fiber rich foods containing:

INULIN such as artichokes, onions, garlic, asparagus.

Fiber rich foods containing PECTIN such as apples, carrots, oranges

Fiber rich foods containing RESISTANT STARCH such as bananas, beans, barley.

Fiber rich foods containing GUAR gum which is found in legumes.

2- Reduce stress and obtain adequate sleep:

When our body is stressed, it releases certain hormones and immune mediators that lead to inflammation in the body. While short bursts of inflammation are good, and allow our body to deal with temporary stressors, chronic stress leads to chronic inflammation. What does chronic inflammation have to do with weight loss? Your body’s ultimate goal is survival, so when it is stressed, it knows it will need more energy to fight off what it perceives as a threat. This includes a drop of metabolism to ensure it has enough energy reserves to fight off whatever danger it perceives is imminent.

3- Practice Intermittent Fasting:

The benefits of fasting have not only been shown to lead to significant weight loss, but renewal of cells. I have written a blog post on all the benefits of fasting as well as how to get started. https://doctorchristineb.blogspot.com/2020/05/benefits-of-intermittent-and-prolonged.html?m=

While weight loss involves building healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle, some people may need help initially to kick start their weight loss journey. One way they can do this is with the help of the medications Xenical and Alli. These medications block the absorption of some of the fat consumed and do not allow the body to absorb all the fat leading to accelerated weight loss. These are not a quick fix and should only be used for short term (less than 3 months) and with the approval of your doctor, since they can deplete the body of important fat soluble vitamins.

The methods described above have proven successful for patients in my practice, but it is important to check with your doctor to rule out any contraindications before starting any weight loss program.

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